“Bionic mushrooms” – a new way to generate electricity using bacteria and nanotechnology

What can you do with regular mushrooms? Surely you have more than one recipe in order to cook them deliciously. But, as it turned out, in order to derive any benefit from the mushroom, it is not at all necessary to have culinary talents. But if you are savvy in physics, biology and know the properties of graphene, you are quite capable of turning the champignon into a source of electricity generation.

According to Science Daily, a group of scientists from the Stevens Institute of Technology (USA) is responsible for the development. Science has long known a special type of bacteria called cyanobacteria. They can generate electricity by themselves without any aids. Their use for these purposes seems quite logical, only there is one “but”: cyanobacteria take root very poorly on artificial nutrient media. Identifying the most suitable habitats for bacteria, scientists have found that they survive very well in the caps of champignon mushrooms. Moreover, in the caps of live mushrooms, they live several times longer.

But the experts did not stop there and created the first of its kind “bionic hybrid mushroom”: using a 3D printer, a network of electrically conductive graphene ink was applied to the surface of the cap, which was covered on top with clusters containing cyanobacteria. Moreover, these 2 layers are printed in such a way as to have several intersection points for signal transmission.

“By combining cyanobacteria that can generate electricity with nanoscale materials that can collect electricity, we were able to gain access to the unique properties of both. At the same time, we have created a completely new functional bionic system. ” – said one of the authors of the work, Manu Mannor.

The printed branching network of graphene serves to collect electricity, while cyanobacteria produce it. Well, the mushroom cap acts as a substrate for bacteria to feed. The generation of electric current begins when exposed to light.

“We have shown for the first time that it is possible to create a symbiosis between two different microbiological kingdoms.”

In addition, experts note that the amount of electricity bacteria produce is directly related to how tightly they are packed into clusters. Accordingly, the denser the “packing”, the more energy will be obtained in the end.

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